Thursday, 17 January 2019 23:00

Crisis looms for Bishops Cannings with booming population as parish council needs new clerk and councillors Featured

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A CRISIS has developed for a parish council in a village near Devizes as the fields in its area have been swallowed up with new development.

The problem is the new estates around the Horton Road, Northfield and The Barracks are not officially in Devizes but in the rural parish of Bishops Cannings.

It means the population of Bishops Cannings has rocketed along with the parish’s responsibilities for the area’s amenities.

“The people in the new homes think they are in Devizes,” said the parish council’s chairman Michael Hodge, “but they are in our parish and we need more parish councillors and a new clerk.”

The head of the council said the majority of the councillors live in the village but the bulk of the population of the parish now live off the Horton Road.

He said they badly needed to be represented on the council which is three councillors short and in need of a clerk.

Like many parish councils in the county they were being given more responsibilities by Wiltshire County with enlarged budgets, so the clerk was a position of considerable financial responsibility.

“We have some very good professionals as councillors, but we need more,” he said, “so we already have some very skilled people on the parish council like Diane Carey who is working on the budget and getting the precept organised. She's a qualified accountant.

"We also get this 106 money from developers which we want used to improve sports facilities at the school and in the village. There are the usual issues in the village of parking and footpaths, but the new people off the Horton Road and the Barracks are under-represented.”

He said it is a story of our age as if you took a map from 1881 and one of 1981 there would hardly be a change, but with the new developments the population of the parish has made it one of the largest in Wiltshire. In the last 25 years new homes have sprung up creating the surge in population.

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